Something I’m Celebrating

These days, getting the mail is not usually something I celebrate. This week, however, I received an unexpected magazine in the mail that gave me real joy.

The publication is called BookPage, and it normally goes to libraries and bookstores to provide to their patrons. It’s full of feature articles on authors, book reviews, and ideas about books that would make good gifts. In the November 2018 edition, Barbara Kingsolver is pictured on the cover; she has a new novel out entitled Unsheltered, which I know I will be reading.

So, I casually opened the magazine, wondering how I came to be receiving it. And there on the inside front cover were ten books under a heading that read “Great Books for Every Reader.” AND THERE WAS MY BOOK!

 

To say that I am pleased and heartened is inadequate. It helps me want to keep writing! Fortunately, it doesn’t take a lot of encouragement to keep me going — but a little, now and then, is sure nice. I am grateful for BookPage!

           

Sometimes You Have to Start Over

With Dancing on the Whisper of God safely completed and available, I’ve been working on another novel for many months now. I am both loving it and feeling overwhelmed by it—a sure combination for keeping my interest. But just this week I came to a startling realization: The chapter I’ve been struggling with simply has to be scrapped and I have to start over. I suspect there are earlier chapters that are the same.

I admit to a twinge or two of regret, but sometime more important is there too: an excitement that maybe the revision I have in mind will be strong and solid enough to carry the project to completion.

We are all beset with issues of “historical cost”—that tendency to want to stay with something way past its expiration date on the argument that we have so much invested, we can’t possibly throw it over for something else. But there are times when that’s exactly what we have to do if we are to choose life.

I have decided to trust the excitement that tells me there is a better track over here.

           

Revised Cover for Dancing on the Whisper of God

I am thrilled with the revised cover my publisher, Trafford Publishing, has designed for my 2014 book, Dancing on the Whisper of God.

The reason for the revision was to add two items to the front cover. One is “The Gold Seal of Literary Excellence” put there by Trafford, and the other is an excerpt from a review by The US Review of Books. The latter reads: ” … this novel brings to light the positive transformational power of prayer. Gilbertson gracefully succeeds in her effort by presenting an engaging narrative, well-written dialogue, and emotionally revealing characters, all showcased against the backdrop of a classic art form …”

I was so pleased to read the full review, and even more that this portion of it is now on the front cover of the book!

           

First Reading of Cross Roads

My friend Linda lent me her copy of Cross Roads, by Wm. Paul Young, well known for his earlier book The Shack.

Young was enchanting in The Shack for how he presented the characters of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and the same is true here, though we never see Papa God in Cross Roads. What we are told about Papa God, however, is “despite everything you believe about him or don’t, and by the way, almost nothing you believe about him is true … regardless, Papa God cares for you with relentless affection.”

Young’s story is one of personal transformation, as was my own novel, Dancing on the Whisper of God. In my story, the transformation occurs in the context of choreography, ballet, and musical composition. In Young’s book, the transformation occurs as a result of a medical emergency that puts Tony, the lead character, in the presence of divinity, including an extraordinary pipe-smoking fellow from Ireland (an angel, I presume) named Jack.

I’m going to read the book again to clear up my understanding of Jack, but I especially liked Jack’s reassurance to Tony: “You must remember, Tony, that there is not one good thing, or memory, or act of kindness, not one thing that is true and noble and right and just, that will be lost.”

And the things that aren’t good? We all have those in our lives too – what about them? Jack explains: “… God is able to transform these into … icons and monuments of grace and love.”

           

Nudgings of God

My novel Dancing on the Whisper of God starts with a predawn “whisper” experienced by a choreographer in San Francisco one morning in 1993. Several people have asked me about this whisper: Was it supposed to be a actual, audible voice? Was it meant to be the voice of God? How believable is it that the Divine Spirit might actually “talk” to people?

This reminds me of something Wayne Dyer said once (and I think he may have been quoting Lilly Tomlin): “Why is it that when we talk to God, it’s called prayer, but when God talks to us, it’s called schizophrenia?”

Well, there’s no schizophrenia in my novel, but there is a fair amount of communication from God. Do I think that God talks to us in actual, audible voices? No. Was the whisper in the book meant to be the voice of God? Yes. How believable is it that the Divine Spirit actually talks to people? Very believable, but the vehicle of the communication can be any number of things.

All of us have had the experience, when something goes wrong, of saying, “I knew I wasn’t supposed to do that! Why didn’t I listen to my intuition?” Or maybe we are thinking of buying something, and there’s a peace we feel in our hearts about the decision. Or maybe someone calls you on the phone and as soon as you hear their idea, your belly gets uneasy. Or maybe it’s a flash of insight offering a resolution to a problem you’ve been having. Or maybe it’s a nudging one day when you’re going through your mail, and you’ve ignored a dozen different requests for charitable giving, but then comes one that you just feel compelled to respond to. Or maybe you have a dream that gives you, in symbol form, the exact answer you were seeking.

All of these, I would say, are “whispers” of God. The King James version of the Bible calls it a “still small voice” [I Kings 19:12]. The NIV calls it “a gentle whisper.”

Where in your life have you been receiving the gift of a nudging from God? Have you learned to pay attention?

If you are in or near Seattle, above is your invitation to a reading from Dancing on the Whisper of God set for April 30. I’d love to see you there! If the link at the top of this post isn’t working, visit: www.dancingonthewhisperofgod.com.

           

Dancing on the Whisper of God

This blog site has offered very short reviews of a number of books in the past two years. This time the book is mine! Dancing on the Whisper of God is a novel just published by Trafford Publishing. The website for it is www.dancingonthewhisperofgod.com – where it can be ordered from the publisher, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

It appears on the surface to be a story about ballet, but ballet is the vehicle for a story about emerging faith. The story centers on a choreographer who receives a divine word: “We are going to make a new dance and the theme is prayer.” The choreographer is not a religious man and knows nothing about prayer, but he is compelled not only to try to create the ballet, but to do so in the mere 63 days he has before opening night of the new season. On top of that, the ballet will require commissioned music.

You will see on the book’s homepage (link above) that endorsements are cited from Kent Stowell, Founding Artistic Director and emeritus principal choreographer of the Pacific Northwest Ballet; Valerie Lesniak, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Spirituality, School of Theology and Ministry, Seattle University; and Rev. Dr. Kenn Gordon, Spiritual Leader of the Centers for Spiritual Living.

I’d love to hear from YOU think of the book!